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  #51  
Old 01-05-2020, 06:07 PM
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Right, some of the comments seem to assume the opposite but the idea is to spin off the "traditionalist" congregations.

Yup, that's one bit that is often kind of glossed over. Part of the proposed separation settlement seems to be recognizing that situation: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/03/us/un...sal/index.html


Ineed, never mind Methodist, that's a characteristic of American Protestants in general.

"as Popes go." Important caveat (doctrinally Francis is barely distinguishable from Benedict or John Paul)
That last statement is erroneous. Views shape doctrines, in fact, Francis' views are contrary to some of the established and controversial church doctrines.

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Another crucial clash is over the causes of clerical sexual abuse. The conservatives declare that homosexuality is to blame. At the outset of his papacy, in 2005, Benedict ordered that gays should be banned from seminaries and the priesthood. Francis has a more tolerant view. When asked about homosexuality during an in-flight press conference in 2013, he famously said, “Who am I to judge?”
Francis's views undercut the rigid conservative view of conservative members of the College of Cardinals. It's pretty clear to them that he's pushing for inclusion of those the Church has limited or rejected. And it doesn't end there. There's a whole range of issues that have ignited the conflict between liberal and conservative clergy.

The rift in the UMC is not unlike the rift in the Vatican right now. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't split the Roman Catholic church as it has the UMC.
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Old 01-05-2020, 07:11 PM
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For gay people, both in and out of the closet, who are Methodists and who thought that progress was possible. If the Methodist church they belong to decides to join the Conservative branch their choice will be to either live a lie or abandon the community they were trying to bring into the 21st century.
Chances are that if the church they belong to votes to join the conservative branch they were pretty unwelcome to begin with. At least this way they can easily determine which churches are likely to accept them just by looking at the name.
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:24 PM
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So OP, are you going to share your thoughts and options on this subject or.....?
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Old 01-05-2020, 10:21 PM
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So OP, are you going to share your thoughts and options on this subject or.....?
I remember both giving an opinion and asking for the opinions of others in the OP. I am now listening to the opinions of those that might have more insight on the matter.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:32 AM
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I remember both giving an opinion and asking for the opinions of others in the OP. I am now listening to the opinions of those that might have more insight on the matter.
I forgot to mention (as I did in the thread in MPSIMS) that I'm a Methodist; I belong to a UMC church that became a "Reconciling Congregation" a few years ago -- we want to fully accept people of all sexual orientations into our church, and we're strongly in support of removing the anti-homosexual sections of the Book of Discipline.

In talking with people at my church today, not everyone is confident that this proposed plan will actually get approved at the General Conference in May -- though everyone does feel that, if the plan goes through, it would be a positive for liberal congregations like ours. OTOH, most members of our congregation are lifelong members of the Methodist church*, and most of them are sad that the issue has torn apart the denomination.

* - OTOH, I grew up Catholic, and have been a member of a CMA church, and two ELCA Lutheran churches, as an adult. I joined the Methodist church a few years ago, as several friends of mine were members of the congregation, and I liked the church's philosophy. So, I don't have the emotional investment in the UMC that my friends do.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:54 AM
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That last statement is erroneous. Views shape doctrines, in fact, Francis' views are contrary to some of the established and controversial church doctrines.


Francis's views undercut the rigid conservative view of conservative members of the College of Cardinals. It's pretty clear to them that he's pushing for inclusion of those the Church has limited or rejected. And it doesn't end there. There's a whole range of issues that have ignited the conflict between liberal and conservative clergy.

The rift in the UMC is not unlike the rift in the Vatican right now. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't split the Roman Catholic church as it has the UMC.
That's not doctrinal, though, at this point -- it's church governance policy. If the RCC stayed essentially intact as an institution after Vat2, this should be weathered. Now, if as you suggest the policies become doctrine-shapers...
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:01 AM
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I belong to a small (~35 average Sunday attendance) rural UMC in southwest Oklahoma and have been a member there for 25 years. Most of the congregants openly state that they believe that people should mind their own business but I'm afraid that when the vote finally comes, the majority will vote to join an exclusionary conference. If that happens, I'll begrudgingly find another church.
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  #58  
Old 01-06-2020, 10:28 AM
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Methodist here. First, nothing has happened yet. This proposal along with others will be voted on by the General Conference. To my surprising, the more conservative group is proposing to leave the UMC. I refuse to refer to them by their chosen term, “traditional,” because intolerance is not a Methodist tradition. One interesting part of the proposal is that they are agreeing that all property belongs to the UMC. They are proposing that the UMC give the new denomination some cash. I guess so they can buy some of the property. I had already decided that if intolerance was the route that the UMC was going to follow that I would have to find a new church. Now, maybe I won’t have to.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:47 PM
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This will ultimately be a good thing. The iron law of oligarchy applies to churches too. If a denomination is to survive, they need to prune off off parts so that other areas can flourish.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:53 PM
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This will ultimately be a good thing. The iron law of oligarchy applies to churches too. If a denomination is to survive, they need to prune off off parts so that other areas can flourish.
Which parts should be "pruned off" and which parts should flourish, in your opinion?
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:13 PM
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Realizing that nothing is decided, this strikes me as just deferring the decision. The top level couldn’t agree so now each congregation will have to decide where they want to go.
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:36 PM
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The majority of the United Methodist churches in the US are and have been supportive of LBGTQ issues. This past summer when the global United Methodist met to vote on these issues, it was the African and Asian churches that overwhelmingly voted the more strict conservative line. Hence the now ensuing split by many of the US churches from the global United Methodist organization.
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:10 PM
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Realizing that nothing is decided, this strikes me as just deferring the decision. The top level couldn’t agree so now each congregation will have to decide where they want to go.
I'm not sure that that's quite accurate. What it really reflects, IMO, is that roughly half of the denomination strongly feels one way, the other half strongly feels the other way, and several years of attempts at reaching compromises have failed.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:29 PM
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If by "outdated views," you refer to the anti-gay-marriage faction, this is almost certainly wrong.

The consistent pattern of the 20th century is that churches/denominations that liberalize decline, and conservative churches either grow or at least decline less. The Episcopalians are pretty much dead, and the liberal Lutherans (ELCA), Presbyterians (PCUSA), and Baptists (American) are right behind them. The conservative branches of those denominations (LCMS, PCA, Southern Baptist) have done much better.

<snip>

But the much more likely scenario, based on history, is the liberal churches continuing to decline and the conservatives holding steady.
Whether or not their views are good for the church is irrelevant to whether or not their views are outdated.
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The Methodist situation is complicated because the two factions are heavily divided by race and money, with the pro-gay-marriage being much richer and whiter and controlling more of the physical infrastructure, (which matters a lot in church splits).
Thank you for explaining this. I didn't understand why the conservatives who "won" the votes about ordaining LGBT folks were splitting off, but the money issue makes sense.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:48 PM
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I'm not sure that that's quite accurate. What it really reflects, IMO, is that roughly half of the denomination strongly feels one way, the other half strongly feels the other way, and several years of attempts at reaching compromises have failed.
I just thought that if half feel one way, in a given congregation there could be a similar split. On further reading it looks as if the split is going to be largely geographical. There might be a few in a given congregation that disagrees with the majority but not likely to be a difficult decision for the group.
  #66  
Old 01-06-2020, 10:40 PM
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I just thought that if half feel one way, in a given congregation there could be a similar split. On further reading it looks as if the split is going to be largely geographical. There might be a few in a given congregation that disagrees with the majority but not likely to be a difficult decision for the group.
Exactly. This isn't a new issue, and it's been debated in UMC churches for years. I wouldn't be surprised if, over the past decade or more, some Methodists, who found themselves members of a local church with which they strongly disagreed on the topic, had already changed congregations (or left the denomination entirely).
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:01 PM
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One interesting part of the proposal is that they are agreeing that all property belongs to the UMC. They are proposing that the UMC give the new denomination some cash. I guess so they can buy some of the property.
This is not correct:
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A local church that affiliates with a Methodist denomination pursuant to this Protocol other than the post-separation United Methodist Church retains its assets and liabilities. The Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church to which the local church belongs at the time of separation will not exercise its trust clause and shall release such local church from the provisions of any and all trust clauses.
https://www.unitedmethodistbishops.o...ment+-2020.pdf

So the local church building and local funds stay with the congregation which is leaving. The vast bulk of the total church assets are local church building and local funds--and only a relatively small portion like the headquarters in Nashville are not.
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:20 PM
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I belong to a small (~35 average Sunday attendance) rural UMC in southwest Oklahoma and have been a member there for 25 years. Most of the congregants openly state that they believe that people should mind their own business but I'm afraid that when the vote finally comes, the majority will vote to join an exclusionary conference. If that happens, I'll begrudgingly find another church.
The late Brother Oral Roberts "was ordained in both the Pentecostal Holiness and United Methodist churches." But he didn't sound like the Methodist preachers I heard in suburban Los Angeles circa 1960. My formerly Quaker grandmother sent me to ORU. Brother Oral was quite the most charismatic person I've ever encountered. Should I guess on which side of the UMC divide his followers will be found?
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:40 AM
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Which parts should be "pruned off" and which parts should flourish, in your opinion?
It is not up to me which parts will flourish. My observation has been that churches that are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions of God tend to do poorly in the long run.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:46 AM
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It is not up to me which parts will flourish. My observation has been that churches that are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions of God tend to do poorly in the long run.
This is in part because people who are seeking Christianity are generally seeking a standard or a path or guiding rope that will remain steady and not change - they are looking for something akin to the laws of physics, which are immutable. If your church is going to change its stance based off of popular opinion in society, then there's not much use for it, in the eyes of these churchgoers.

It's like how, if you're a patient, you want a doctor who will tell you the medical truth, no matter how unflattering or scary it may be. You don't want a doctor who thinks like this: "Well, smoking does cause lung cancer, but since society is very pro-tobacco these days, I'm not going to talk about the lung cancer risk anymore."
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:04 AM
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It is not up to me which parts will flourish. My observation has been that churches that are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions of God tend to do poorly in the long run.
Please don't avoid the actual question asked. I didn't say that it was up to you-I asked you what parts you would want to flourish and which parts you would want to prune off. Your statement tells us nothing as to what your actual opinion is.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:09 AM
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This is in part because people who are seeking Christianity are generally seeking a standard or a path or guiding rope that will remain steady and not change - they are looking for something akin to the laws of physics, which are immutable. If your church is going to change its stance based off of popular opinion in society, then there's not much use for it, in the eyes of these churchgoers.

It's like how, if you're a patient, you want a doctor who will tell you the medical truth, no matter how unflattering or scary it may be. You don't want a doctor who thinks like this: "Well, smoking does cause lung cancer, but since society is very pro-tobacco these days, I'm not going to talk about the lung cancer risk anymore."
But we don't have medical journals and textbooks to determine what the facts are. All we have are many versions of a holy book-a book so filled with historical inaccuracies, contradictions and vagueness that no two people can read it and get the exact same message.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:14 AM
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All we have are many versions of a holy book-a book so filled with historical inaccuracies, contradictions and vagueness that no two people can read it and get the exact same message.
And those two people may then want to kill each other because the other person doesn't agree with their interpretation of the message.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:33 AM
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It is not up to me which parts will flourish. My observation has been that churches that are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions of God tend to do poorly in the long run.
And my observation is that people who are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions purported to be "of God" tend to do better in the long run.

That the church does better does not mean that the people do better, and vice versa. Religion in a nutshell.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:04 PM
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Please don't avoid the actual question asked. I didn't say that it was up to you-I asked you what parts you would want to flourish and which parts you would want to prune off. Your statement tells us nothing as to what your actual opinion is.
I would like to see the African church flourish and the American church repent and then flourish.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:05 PM
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And my observation is that people who are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions purported to be "of God" tend to do better in the long run.

That the church does better does not mean that the people do better, and vice versa. Religion in a nutshell.
Churches who try to change to accommodate people who hate religion make as much sense as Kentucky Fried Chicken changing its 11 herbs and spices recipe to appeal to vegans.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:17 PM
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Churches in general don't make sense. Institutions whose whole existence stems from irrational belief can hardly be chided for adopting irrational policies.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:32 PM
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It is not up to me which parts will flourish. My observation has been that churches that are more concerned with the opinions of people and less concerned with the opinions of God tend to do poorly in the long run.
IMHO, both sides of this believe they are following the opinion of God, it's just that one side is focusing on Old Testament lawgiving fire-and-brimstone God while the other is focusing on New Testament love-one-another, let-he-who-is-without-sin God.

Refresh my recollection which one a Christian church is supposed to focus on.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:43 PM
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It's like how, if you're a patient, you want a doctor who will tell you the medical truth, no matter how unflattering or scary it may be. You don't want a doctor who thinks like this: "Well, smoking does cause lung cancer, but since society is very pro-tobacco these days, I'm not going to talk about the lung cancer risk anymore."
On the other hand I also don't want a Doctor who says, "Well my Dad was a doctor back in the 30's and he smoked, and his father before him and his father before him, three generations of well respected doctors who smoked. I'm not going to change my mind about that just because of the latest health fad."
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:45 PM
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Churches who try to change to accommodate people who hate religion make as much sense as Kentucky Fried Chicken changing its 11 herbs and spices recipe to appeal to vegans.
More like a virus that tries to make itself less deadly by reproducing less effectively. It may well be that catering to the explicit wishes of humans to not be quite so hateful is bad for churches. But it’s good for the people. If the nd result is the church dies and the people thrive, then so be it. If, on the other hand, some people choose to remain with a more "virulent strain" of religion and they suffer, then my heart goes out to those people. I just hope they don’t hurt anyone else in their ignorance, even as I know they very likely will.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 01-07-2020 at 12:47 PM. Reason: Quoted wrong post
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:30 PM
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The late Brother Oral Roberts "was ordained in both the Pentecostal Holiness and United Methodist churches." But he didn't sound like the Methodist preachers I heard in suburban Los Angeles circa 1960. My formerly Quaker grandmother sent me to ORU. Brother Oral was quite the most charismatic person I've ever encountered. Should I guess on which side of the UMC divide his followers will be found?
Ironically, my dad taught at ORU for 30 years. My brother graduated from there. I had the option to go there for free but declined.

Brother Oral may have been ordained as a Methodist but he certainly didn't act like one. I don't think I ever heard him mention John Wesley or sanctifying grace.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:58 PM
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Exactly. This isn't a new issue, and it's been debated in UMC churches for years. I wouldn't be surprised if, over the past decade or more, some Methodists, who found themselves members of a local church with which they strongly disagreed on the topic, had already changed congregations (or left the denomination entirely).
Indeed. Our hypothetical Methodist wouldn't even have to leave the Wesleyan tradition, if that was important to them - plenty of Holiness, independent Methodist, and Wesleyan churches around. At least, here in the South.
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:34 PM
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More like a virus that tries to make itself less deadly by reproducing less effectively. It may well be that catering to the explicit wishes of humans to not be quite so hateful is bad for churches. But it’s good for the people. If the end result is the church dies and the people thrive, then so be it. If, on the other hand, some people choose to remain with a more "virulent strain" of religion and they suffer, then my heart goes out to those people. I just hope they don’t hurt anyone else in their ignorance, even as I know they very likely will.
But the wishes of the local society may not be good. Take the church in the era of Nazi Germany, for instance - a number of Christian churches, went fascist because local society went fascist. Catering to the whims of local society and popular opinion was wrong in that situation.


In addition - and I think this is the part where we don't see eye to eye - the church shouldn't be like a toy manufacturer, or movie studio, in the sense that "We have to cater to what customers want to consume, otherwise we'll go out of business." The church should be like a classroom of math or physics - teaching things that are immutably true regardless of era. No physics or math professor in his right mind would say, "Popular opinion dislikes the statements that F=ma and e=mc^2, so from now on, we're ditching those formulas in light of more popular ones" - and if he did say such things, the appropriate response of students would be to flee that class and sign up at other, more orthodox, classes.

This isn't to say that the Church can't get doctrine wrong or teach wrong things - sure they can, and they should improve and correct it when they find they've erred - but popular opinion ought to have absolutely zilch to do with it. Just like if a chemist or physicist finds out via scientific method that he's made an error, he should correct it, but never merely because his students say, "I don't like that formula, it's not (aesthetic/pretty/short/simple/nice-looking)."

Last edited by Velocity; 01-07-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 01-07-2020, 03:18 PM
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Churches who try to change to accommodate people who hate religion make as much sense as Kentucky Fried Chicken changing its 11 herbs and spices recipe to appeal to vegans.
People that don't follow the sect you happen to believe in hate religion?
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Old 01-07-2020, 03:20 PM
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The problem is that churches have LONG done just that in one way or another; look at how many condoned, justified or even encouraged slavery, capital punishment, torture, religious intolerance, anti-semitism, racism, animal cruetly, wars of conquest, etc... through history. I suspect anti-LGBTQ issues are just one more thing in a series of wrong-headed things that Christian churches have pushed over the last 2000 years.

The basic truths are immutable, but the organizations themselves are the products of imperfect humans, and the people running them, interpreting scripture and tradition, etc... are most assuredly human, and what they emphasize/minimize as well as some basic belief is very shaped by the society as a whole.

Ultimately, as far as I can tell, most churches who are pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda are doing so because their congregants don't like LGBTQ stuff, not because they have a particularly solid theological foundation. After all, if Christians are to take Jesus at his word in the Great Commandment* , then fishing up some stuff from the Old Testament or cryptic-ass comments in the Epistles is entirely missing the point. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves- that doesn't leave any wiggle room for excluding people you don't like, or who you don't agree with.

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One of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
 Mark 12:28-31 KJV
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Old 01-07-2020, 04:17 PM
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But the wishes of the local society may not be good. Take the church in the era of Nazi Germany, for instance - a number of Christian churches, went fascist because local society went fascist. Catering to the whims of local society and popular opinion was wrong in that situation.


In addition - and I think this is the part where we don't see eye to eye - the church shouldn't be like a toy manufacturer, or movie studio, in the sense that "We have to cater to what customers want to consume, otherwise we'll go out of business." The church should be like a classroom of math or physics - teaching things that are immutably true regardless of era. No physics or math professor in his right mind would say, "Popular opinion dislikes the statements that F=ma and e=mc^2, so from now on, we're ditching those formulas in light of more popular ones" - and if he did say such things, the appropriate response of students would be to flee that class and sign up at other, more orthodox, classes.

This isn't to say that the Church can't get doctrine wrong or teach wrong things - sure they can, and they should improve and correct it when they find they've erred - but popular opinion ought to have absolutely zilch to do with it. Just like if a chemist or physicist finds out via scientific method that he's made an error, he should correct it, but never merely because his students say, "I don't like that formula, it's not (aesthetic/pretty/short/simple/nice-looking)."
I didn’t say or mean to imply churches should do what’s popular, only that the opinions of humans (be they good or bad) ought to have more relevance to people than the supposed opinions of god, which for some reason certain people are primed to believe is inherently good and beyond question, as if 1) it must actually be the opinion of god, and 2) god is necessarily good.

You can use scripture to support any position. You can even use scripture to support a virulently anti-semitic position, as many Christians have.

What matters, and what we should make up our minds on, is how what we say and do will affect our interactions with other PEOPLE, not with how it might affect our relationship with some supposed god or gods. Until such time as that god(s) can be demonstrated to exist and to matter. I mean, you might convince me that god exists some day, but it will be another thing entirely to convince me that I should live my life around what that god deems right or wrong.

And that’s irrespective of whether it’s "good" for a church, or "bad" for a church. I don’t give a fart about churches: it’s people that matter.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 01-07-2020 at 04:22 PM.
  #87  
Old 01-07-2020, 04:50 PM
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This is in part because people who are seeking Christianity are generally seeking a standard or a path or guiding rope that will remain steady and not change - they are looking for something akin to the laws of physics, which are immutable. If your church is going to change its stance based off of popular opinion in society, then there's not much use for it, in the eyes of these churchgoers.

It's like how, if you're a patient, you want a doctor who will tell you the medical truth, no matter how unflattering or scary it may be. You don't want a doctor who thinks like this: "Well, smoking does cause lung cancer, but since society is very pro-tobacco these days, I'm not going to talk about the lung cancer risk anymore."
I don't know, I'd bet most Christians are happy their religion changed and no longer includes slavery, women as property, blood sacrifice etc., or did you mean steady now that it has changed?
  #88  
Old 01-08-2020, 11:26 AM
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I think of Methodist as the 'normal, suburban, inoffensive' version of Christianity, maybe because that's how I grew up. So it makes me a little sad that what I thought were good, everyday people with an interest in God and faith and community should be pulling themselves apart over mundane, earthly fear and hate.


There's always a church leading the charge against any change. That appears to the whole point of most religious groups: Stay i power, keep 'em in their place, keep things like the 'good old days.' I just thought the Methodists were better people.
  #89  
Old 01-08-2020, 01:37 PM
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People that don't follow the sect you happen to believe in hate religion?
No but people like ASL and Really not all that bright seem to.
  #90  
Old 01-08-2020, 01:40 PM
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IMHO, both sides of this believe they are following the opinion of God, it's just that one side is focusing on Old Testament lawgiving fire-and-brimstone God while the other is focusing on New Testament love-one-another, let-he-who-is-without-sin God.

Refresh my recollection which one a Christian church is supposed to focus on.
The Christian church's purpose is to spread the love of God in the world. It is not loving to try to teach people to be comfortable in their sin. It is the opposite.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:48 PM
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The Christian church's purpose is to spread the love of God in the world. It is not loving to try to teach people to be comfortable in their sin. It is the opposite.
Define 'sin'. I will say that liberal churches are indeed of the belief that they are spreading the love of God in the world and that religious hatred of LGBTQ people is allowing hateful people to be comfortable in their sin.

As a liberal Christian myself I get flabbergasted when anti-LGBTQ folks try to say they are spreading God's love in the world. It does not seem like it in the slightest.
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:08 PM
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Define 'sin'. I will say that liberal churches are indeed of the belief that they are spreading the love of God in the world and that religious hatred of LGBTQ people is allowing hateful people to be comfortable in their sin.

As a liberal Christian myself I get flabbergasted when anti-LGBTQ folks try to say they are spreading God's love in the world. It does not seem like it in the slightest.
One thing I don't understand is how Christians can go against things that are explicitly stated as sins or abominations in the Bible. If the Bible is the word of God and the Bible says X is a sin, then shouldn't X be considered a sin in an absolute sense?

I don't think that means churches should kick out people who sin. I'm sure lots of sinners go to church all the time. But it seems sacriligous for a church based on the Bible to say that something is not a sin even though it is explicitly stated as so in the Bible.
  #93  
Old 01-08-2020, 02:18 PM
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No but people like ASL and Really not all that bright seem to.
I don’t hate religion, I just think it’s built on a range of things that I don’t believe should be lauded or supported. Hate, for instance. Hate of others, hate of difference.

You can try and cloak your hateful beliefs in the word of god all you want, but at the end of the day it’s people who wrote those words down, whatever the source, and it’s people who choose which oft-times contradictory statements to get behind and which to ignore.

For my part, I don’t care what god said, and that’s even if I grant there is a god (I don’t, but if I did), because the god you seem to have gotten behind strikes me as a homophobic prick. And again, that’s an accusation leveled at your supposed god, not at you.
  #94  
Old 01-08-2020, 02:33 PM
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I think of Methodist as the 'normal, suburban, inoffensive' version of Christianity, maybe because that's how I grew up.
Warning - may be offensive to inoffensive Methodists just trying to live a decent life : Baby, Let's Be Methodists Tonight.
  #95  
Old 01-08-2020, 03:12 PM
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One thing I don't understand is how Christians can go against things that are explicitly stated as sins or abominations in the Bible. If the Bible is the word of God and the Bible says X is a sin, then shouldn't X be considered a sin in an absolute sense?

I don't think that means churches should kick out people who sin. I'm sure lots of sinners go to church all the time. But it seems sacriligous for a church based on the Bible to say that something is not a sin even though it is explicitly stated as so in the Bible.

Liberal Christians aren't biblical literalists. They do not, as a rule, tend to believe that the Bible was personally authored by God, or that God would go to any particular lengths to make sure what was written in the Bible was accurate. The Bible, in this view, is the work of people over many centuries describing their experience with God, and trying to interpret what those experiences meant in terms of God's will. Christians who adhere to this interpretation would, generally, view the writers of the Bible as very wise, but not infallible, and subject to many of the cultural assumptions inherent to the times and places where they were born. They're also generally aware that modern translations of the Bible are basically a game of Telephone played across thousands of years between people who didn't necessarily all speak the same language, and are mindful that what it says in King James may not have much resemblance to what was intended in the original document.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:21 PM
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One thing I don't understand is how Christians can go against things that are explicitly stated as sins or abominations in the Bible. If the Bible is the word of God and the Bible says X is a sin, then shouldn't X be considered a sin in an absolute sense?

I don't think that means churches should kick out people who sin. I'm sure lots of sinners go to church all the time. But it seems sacriligous for a church based on the Bible to say that something is not a sin even though it is explicitly stated as so in the Bible.

Paul listed gay sex along with adultery, drunkenness, and fornication. Now even Ministers sometimes fall into one of those sins. That's no reason to exclude them from the Church.

And that's Paul.

Jesus said "let those without sin cast the first stone' and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

Luke 6:31-38 English Standard Version (ESV)
31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

John 13:34 English Standard Version (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Matthew 5 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Sermon on the Mount
...
The Beatitudes
.....
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  #97  
Old 01-08-2020, 07:24 PM
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If the Bible is the word of God
It's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John 1:1:5,14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

....

14 Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.

Last edited by Pleonast; 01-08-2020 at 07:25 PM. Reason: fixed verse number
  #98  
Old 01-08-2020, 07:40 PM
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I don’t hate religion, I just think it’s built on a range of things that I don’t believe should be lauded or supported. Hate, for instance. Hate of others, hate of difference.

You can try and cloak your hateful beliefs in the word of god all you want, but at the end of the day it’s people who wrote those words down, whatever the source, and it’s people who choose which oft-times contradictory statements to get behind and which to ignore.

For my part, I don’t care what god said, and that’s even if I grant there is a god (I don’t, but if I did), because the god you seem to have gotten behind strikes me as a homophobic prick. And again, that’s an accusation leveled at your supposed god, not at you.
You have compared religion to a virus and said God is a homophobic prick. If you don't hate religion than you are doing a good impression of someone who does.
  #99  
Old 01-08-2020, 07:48 PM
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Paul listed gay sex along with adultery, drunkenness, and fornication. Now even Ministers sometimes fall into one of those sins. That's no reason to exclude them from the Church.

And that's Paul.

Jesus said "let those without sin cast the first stone' and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

Luke 6:31-38 English Standard Version (ESV)
31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

John 13:34 English Standard Version (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Matthew 5 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Sermon on the Mount
...
The Beatitudes
.....
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
No one (or almost no one) says that adulterers, drunks, and fornicators (gay or straight) should be banned forever from the church, just that when at church they should be called to repentance. Most churches don't hold keggers or key parties because to do so would mean the celebration of sin.

In the story of Jonah, he is a prophet who hates Nineveh. When God tells him to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent, he refuses and runs away because he hates the Ninevehites and wants them to die in their sin. Calling what is sin righteousness is what you would do to someone you hate.
  #100  
Old 01-08-2020, 07:56 PM
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I think it was one of Robert Heinlein's characters that said "Religions have schisms as naturally as a cat has kittens"

The denomination I grew up in, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod had a major schism in the 1970's. The congregations that left at first had their own smaller synod, then merged with two others to form a new group, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This latter group is one I ended up belonging to, then switched to the Episcopal Church. The ELCA and the Episcopla church are in what is called communion with each other. They maintain seperate group identity and history, but clergy can serve in either church. In fact, the cathedral church I belong to has had an ELCA pastor serving it for some years, along with other Episcopal clergy. Rev Goerge was a military chaplain for a long time, now, semi-retired, he does some hospital work. He's really cool, a West Point graduate of all things.
Did the Wisconsin Synod eventually merge with the Missouri Synod? I grew up in a Missouri Synod church. But my mother's folks belonged to a Wisconsin Synod congregation. I noted very little difference in the Sunday services at the two churches. As I recall the Wisconsin Synod broke off from Missouri because the Wisconsin folks didn't approve of dancing. That has to be about as silly as it gets.

****

How does each congregation decide which Methodist group to go with? Do they vote? Form new congregations? What happens?
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